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Rediff News  All News  » News » Former Maldivian prez meets PM; India hopes free, fair polls

Former Maldivian prez meets PM; India hopes free, fair polls

Last updated on: August 17, 2013 00:10 IST

A delegation of the Progressive Party of Maldives led by its presidential candidate, Abdulla Yamin Abdul Gayoom called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday.

The PPM delegation’s visit to Delhi is part of an Indian exercise to reach out to the main political formations in the Maldives before the presidential elections that scheduled to be held on September 7.

India has been in touch with all stakeholders in run-up to the Maldives presidential elections, inviting political leaders of all hues as well as other stakeholders. The Indian leadership has conveyed its keen interest in fair and transparent elections and a smooth transition to an elected government in Maldives.

Maldives has been in political turmoil since the ouster of President Nasheed in controversial circumstances in February 2012 when his Vice President Waheed Hassan took over in his stead. There have been political disturbances in Maldives on several occasions since that time as political bitterness has spilled over onto the streets.

According to official sources, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his meeting with the PPP delegation that comprised Maldives ministers and senior leaders, emphasised the need to ensure understanding among all sections that the outcome of the elections is recognised by all parties and that there are no reprisals after the elections.

Nasheed was in Delhi earlier this month on a three day visit when he called on the prime minister and had meetings with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh.

The former president who was ousted in 2012 is the presidential candidate of his Maldivian Democratic Party. There had been apprehensive in the Maldives that the former president may not be allowed to contest as he faces charges in court over his ordering the arrest of a judge, but his candidature was finally confirmed by the Maldives election commission.

During Nasheed’s meetings in Delhi, Indian leaders conveyed a similar message to the former president. They impressed on the necessity of ensuring understanding among the political parties in the post-election period to ensure political stability in Maldives.

They also stressed on the close relationship that India had with the people of Maldives and emphasised that India would like to see a stable and prosperous Maldives.

Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, whose autocratic three decade long rule ended in 2008 when he was defeated by Mr Nasheed, also visited Delhi some weeks ago. Mr Gayoom stayed out of politics for some time after he quit his party in 2010. He later set up the Progressive People’s Party; his step brother Abdulla Yamin is the party’s presidential candidate. The PPP is a part of the coalition government headed by President Waheed.

The PPP delegation currently on a visit to Delhi includes Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dunya Maumoon, PPP Vice President and Tourism Minister, Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Gafoor, Campaign manager and Member of Parliament Abdulla Maseeh, Minister of State for Human Resource, Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon and Council member, Ahmed Faris Maumoon.

Among the other political leaders who have visited Delhi in recent months on the Indian government’s invitation was Maldives Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and Speaker of the Majlis, Abdullah Shahid.

The Majlis Speaker was accompanied by a parliamentary delegation. Senior leader of Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party Ahmed Nazim was in India recently as was DRP leader, Thasmeen Ali, who is Waheed’s running mate for the forthcoming presidential election.

Waheed had paid an official visit to India last year; he is also a candidate in the election, heading a coalition of small political parties.

Among the other stakeholders in Maldives, Maldives Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz also visited India as well as Maldives Election Commission chief, Fuad Thaufeeg, who was in Delhi in May for consultations with Election Commission of India officials.

Image: Maldivian presidential candidate, Abdulla Yamin Abdul Gayoom

Photograph: Haveeru/Reuters

Shubha Singh